Diane served in Vietnam as a trauma nurse in the burn and surgical wards of Vung Tau and Pleiku, 1968-69.


She led a ten year mission to honor the women serving in Vietnam and throughout the world with a Vietnam Women’s Memorial.


Today her work focuses on readjustment services for veterans.

About Diane

Diane Carlson Evans is the Founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, dedicated in Washington DC near the Wall of Names on Veterans Day, 1993. As a former Captain in the Army Nurse Corps who served in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969, Diane Carlson Evans had a profoundly personal interest in remedying the omission of recognition for women veterans. Working in surgical and burn units, her first-hand knowledge of the casualties of the Vietnam war and the sacrifices of the women who volunteered to leave the comforts of home to support their fighting brothers in a foreign land, led her on a ten year mission – during which she had to convince government agencies, Congress, journalists and the public that building a women’s Vietnam memorial was a necessary part of the healing process for female war veterans.

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Healing Wounds by Diane Carlson Evans

The Book

Diane’s long awaited book Healing Wounds, A Vietnam War combat nurse’s 10-year fight to win women a place of honor in Washington D.C. is now available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, Simon & Schuster, and local booksellers. It was released on May 26, 2020.

Diane states that her book wouldn’t be possible, nor the dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, without the support of her husband and family, and the hundreds of individuals who came forward to assist – despite the naysayers and fierce opposition against accomplishing the mission.

“I wish to express my deep and everlasting gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers, donors, supporters and organizations who so generously gave their time, talents and personal treasure to move the vision of a Vietnam Women’s Memorial forward. With their contribution and the steadfast work of our board of directors and staff we achieved our mission of moving forward a process of healing and hope for the women who served and their families. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t accomplish this monumental effort alone. I am grateful to all, and can never thank enough each and every person who made a difference. In the end, was it worth the anguish of the never-ending trials and tribulations – the loss of ten years in the hours given to accomplishing every step, every feat? I see the answer every time I visit the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.”


Currently in the News

Diane Carlson Evans Documentary, PBS National Memorial Day Concert
PBS Memorial Concert 2020
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“It’s my honor to nominate Diane Carlson Evans for the Presidential Medal of Freedom to rightfully recognize her lasting contributions to our country and the women veteran community. Ms. Evans put her life on the line serving this country, saving countless lives of her fellow servicemembers. And after that service, she dedicated her civilian life to serving and honoring her fellow women veterans.”
Senator John Tester of Montana
April 15, 2024
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“I stood at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial with Diane Carlson Evans and heard her speak of the ten-year struggle she waged to get the Memorial built and placed near The Wall (The Vietnam Veterans Memorial). I watched as dozens of these nurses– gathered at their own memorial– hugged each other and laughed and cried together.”
Kristin Hannah, referencing her inspiration for “The Women”
30th Anniversary of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial
Verteran’s Day 2023
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The Memorial

On Veteran’s Day 1993  the first monument  to honor military and civilian American women’s patriotic service, achievements, courage, and sacrifice was dedicated on the National Mall just 300 feet from the Wall of Names.  The Vietnam Women’s Memorial brings reconciliation and healing for all veterans, their families, and the nation. Women’s contributions no longer hide in the shadows but inspire us today.

On Veteran’s Day 2018,  the 25th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington DC was commemorated at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. With several thousand people in attendance, visitors once again heard the voices of women veterans sharing their story. See the Memorial’s website here.


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The Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington D.C.
  • The Inception

    The idea for the memorial is conceived by Diane Carlson Evans, RN, who served in Vietnam. Evans shared her dream with Rodger M. Brodin, a noted Minnesota sculptor. Together, using Brodin’s skills as an artist and Evans’ memories of life in Vietnam, they created a statue of a female veteran. Ultimately, hearings with the federal regulating agencies in Washington DC resulted in the approval of a statue designed by Glenna Goodacre of Santa Fe, NM.

  • Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project is Incorporated, First Design Unveiled

    To place this statue at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project is incorporated as a nonprofit volunteer organization. Its goals are to honor the women who served during the Vietnam Era, educate the public about the role of these women, locate them and help facilitate research on them.

    Sculptor Rodger Brodin’s design for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial unveiled in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brodin, a past preisdent of The Society of Minnesota Sculptors, created Minnesota’s official monument to the state’s veterans “Monument to the Living” on the Minnesota State Capitol Mall, dedicated 1982,  St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • First Approval Obtained

    Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. approves the placement of a women’s memorial near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall of Names.

  • Second Approval Obtained

    Secretary of the Interior approves the concept of placing a Vietnam Women’s Memorial at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

  • U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Washington DC Rejects Proposal

    Commission of Fine Arts rejects proposal for a memorial in public hearing by a 4-1 vote.

    “Opponents to the concept insisted that an addition would encourage other groups and ethnic minorities to claim statues as well. One antagonist said that the Wall was complete “as is” and that attempts to depict everyone literally can only diffuse its symbolic power and weaken the memorial. Maya Lin, artist of the original design, protested further, concerned about “individual concessions” to special interest groups.“I am as opposed to this new addition as I was to [Hart’s sculpture]” Lin concluded. “I cannot see where it will all end” (Minutes of the Commission of Fine Arts, 1987). There were derisive and heated remarks by commissioners. Frederick Hart, sculptor of Three Fighting Men (who disqualified himself from casting a vote), argued against the addition by insisting that the statue of three men stood for the whole veteran population regardless of sex. He held that his work had created a “fragile balance” with the Wall, a balance likely to be disturbed by the intrusion of  added elements. Another commissioner called it an “unneeded clarification.” J. Carter Brown, Chairman of the Commission, delivered the coup de grace. He declared that the three male figures by Hart were already “symbolic of humankind and everyone who served.” He asserted that a proliferation of statues would be uncontrollable, saying, “The Park Service has even heard from Scout Dog associations.” He referred to the VWMP statue as “an afterthought, sort of a putdown, almost a ghettoization.” Mention was made of a statue already dedicated to nurses—the Nurse’s Monument, which overlooks the graves from the top of a hill in Arlington National Cemetery. We were urged to believe that this was enough for nurses. I knew from my research that this monument had been placed in honor of Army and Navy nurses in 1938. It was rededicated by the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force in 1971. The Commission voted four to one to reject our proposal. The commissioners’ comments seemed to mirror those in the Washington Post column, which had branded the project a “bad precedent,” saying, “The Nurse in answer to Hart’s statue has no psychological or physical relationship with the memorial as a whole” (Forgey, 1987).” Report written by Diane Carlson Evans

  • S.J. 215 is Introduced

    S.J 215 is introduced in the senate authorizing a Vietnam Women’s Memorial at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and companion bill H.R. 3628 is introduced in the House.

  • S.J. 2042 Hearings

    Hearings are held on S.J. 2042 before the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, National Parks and Forests to complete the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with a Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  • Site Approval

    To comply with the Commemorative Works Act, the newly passed law governing the process for the authorization and placement of approved memorials, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project must now receive site approval before it can proceed with the presentation of a memorial design for approval.

  • S.J. 2042 Passes in the Senate

    Senate passes S.J. 2042 by a vote of 96-1.

  • S.J. 2042 Revised in the House

    House of Representatives rejects the language of S.J. 2042, and on September 23 passes another version of the bill to authorize a memorial to women who served in Vietnam. However, language does not specify the site of the memorial, other than it be placed on federal lands in Washington DC or its environs. This adds a level of concern that without specification, the memorial could be built in a less appropriate place.

  • S.J. 2042 Returns to the Senate

    The Senate passes an amended version of S.J. 2042 as passed by the House, authorizing that the memorial be placed on federal lands in Washington DC or its environs.

  • S.J. 2042 Amendment Rejected by the House

    Just hours before the adjournment of the 100th Congress, the House rejects the Senate’s amendment. The Senate receded to the House position.

  • S.J. 2042 Signed by President Reagan

    President Reagan signs S.J. 2042, which becomes Public Law 100-660, authorizing the approval for a Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

    Read S.J. Resolution 2042.

  • Senate Approves Site

    Senate approves Area I site specificity for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall.

  • House Approves Site

    House approves Area I site specificity for Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall.

  • Site Authorized by President George H.W. Bush

    President Bush signs legislation authorizing Area I site for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall.

    Read S.J. Resolution 207.

  • Specific Sites Approved

    National Capital Memorial Commission and Commission of Fine Arts approve specific sites in Area I for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall.

  • Another Site Approval

    National Capital Planning Commission approves specific sites within Area I for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall.

  • Design Competition Launches

    National Open One-Stage Design Competition launched for design of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  • Finalists Announced

    Co-finalists and Honorable Mentions of Design Competition announced at Press Conference, National Bldg Museum, Washington DC.

  • Winner Announced

    Glenna Goodacre, Santa Fe, NM, Honorable Mention winner, selected by Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project Board of Directors to design the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  • Design Finalized and Approved

    All three federal authorizing agencies — National Capital Memorial Commission, Commission of Fine Arts, and National Capital Planning Commission — approve Glenna Goodacre’s design concept for the the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  • The National Capital Planning Commission

    Diane testifying before the National Capital Planning Commission for the placement of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  • Final Design Presented

    Diane and sculptor Glenna Goodacre presenting the approved design of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial to the public;  on the National Mall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

  • The Project Celebrates its Achievements

    Glenna Goodacre, sculptor; Diane Carlson Evans, Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project President; and Diana Hellinger, Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project Executive Director celebrate the achievements of the Projects work.

  • Plaque Unveiling Announcement Ceremony

    Plaque unveiling announcement ceremony on future site of  the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, National Mall.

    Diane Carlson Evans and COL Jane Carson, USA, Ret.

  • Plaque Unveiling Ceremony

    Photo left to right: Sammy Davis, Medal of Honor recipient, Diane Carlson Evans, President Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project,  Gary Wetzel, Medal of Honor recipient, Diana Hellinger, Executive Director, Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project, Jan Scruggs, Founder Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, LT COL Evangeline P Jamison, USA Ret, Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project board member.

  • Final Design Approved

    Final design approved for Vietnam Women’s Memorial by National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts.

  • The Memorial Leaves for Washington

    Glenna signs the Vietnam Women’s Memorial before it leaves for Washington DC.

  • Groundbreaking

    Diane conducts Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

    Read the full transcript of General Powell’s comments here.

    Photo left to right: Dee Lippman,Jan Scruggs, Senator John Warner, George Dickie, National Park Service Representative, Diane Carlson Evans, Kevin Foley, General Colin Powell, Glenna Goodacre, Lynda Van Devanter, Senator Paul Wellstone, Senator John Kerry

  • Whistle Stop Tour

    21-City Whistle Stop Tour of Vietnam Women’s Memorial kicks off in Santa Fe, NM en route to final destination, Washington DC.

  • Parade before unveiling of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial

    Diane leads the parade down Constitution Avenue with her sister veterans.

  • The Unveiling

    Sculptor Glenna Goodacre, Diane Evans, President of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project and its Board of Directors prepare to unveil the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  • Diane Conducting the Dedication Ceremony

    Diane conducting the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Dedication Ceremony.

  • Glenna Speaking at The Dedication Ceremony

    Sculptor, Glenna Goodacre speaks at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Dedication Ceremony.

  • The Vietnam Women’s Memorial Unveiled

    The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is now presented before tens of thousands of people who come to touch the monument.

  • Vietnam Magazine Highlights Women’s Service

    Vietnam magazine features an article about the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and Nam nurses. Diane appears here with the 3 female models for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

    Read article

    (photo: Dirck Halstead)

  • The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in 2006

    The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is important to future generations.

  • Memorial Day 2010

    Diane with General Barry McCaffrey and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen.

  • Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation Announces Transition

    The Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation’s Board of Directors selects Eastern National, an association recognized by Congress to promote the educational  and interpretive mission of the National Park Service, to assume the operating mission of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation.
  • Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation Officially Dissolved

    Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation assets and mission transferred to Eastern National and the National Park Service.

  • Vietnam Women’s Memorial/Eastern National Advisory Group Created

    Diane Carlson Evans serves as Chair of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial (VWM) Advisory Group and functions as the point of contact between Eastern National and members of the Advisory Group. The VWM Advisory Group ensures the successful continuation of the mission of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation in educating the public and honoring the military and civilian women who served during the Vietnam era.  They shall support and represent the mission of the VWMF by monitoring and providing informed input for EN’s education programs, products, and services as they relate to interpreting women’s service during the Vietnam era.